Editor’s Note: Today, we’re reposting an interview from the early days of our FACES of Memphis series. With Memorial Day upon us, and a long weekend at hand, we wanted to give a shout out to the woman who always gives us great ideas for fun things to do in our city.
The I Love Memphis blog, a part of the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau, has been somewhat of my Memphis road map for quite some time now and if she says do this or eat here, there is no twisting my arm, I listen. Her job is to promote Memphis, but she does it with authenticity. Therefore, when it came time to meet the girl behind it, someone who I consider a celebrity in the blogging world, I was actually a little nervous.
Within two minutes of meeting Kerry, I was instantly put at ease. First of all, she really is the tiniest person I have ever seen. I honestly felt like I could put her in my pocket and take her around with me like I used to do with my Polly Pockets and I’m a petite shopper myself! She is this cute girl, with big glasses and a pixie style haircut that is surprisingly super shy upon first meeting her. After a few minutes of getting to know each other however, she had me laughing with her dry sense of humor and witty remarks that she made with effortless ease. She is one of the most interesting people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting: funny, super motivated, extremely smart, an amazing blogger and to top it all off, so friendly. Kerry is the real deal: a young woman who is putting Memphis on the social media map all while paving a bright future for not only herself but for Memphis as well. We could definitely use a few more “Kerrys” in our city!
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Memphis. I’m legit.
Where did you go to college and what did you study?
I graduated from Ball State University in 2007 with a degree in journalism.
What led you back to Memphis?
After I graduated, I definitely didn’t want to stay in Muncie (where BSU is) – it’s a tiny town, and I wasn’t too interested in living in the Midwest forever. I had a job interview in Memphis three days after graduation, so I packed up all of my stuff and moved back here.
How long have you been with the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau?
It’ll be three years in August.
What is your exact job title and what are your responsibilities?
My exact title is Social Media Specialist. I run ilovememphisblog.com and its associated Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Foursquare, Pinterest, Tumblr, Yelp, UrbanSpoon and Instagram accounts.
Speaking of your blog, I am obsessed with it! Did you develop it?
I did. When the CVB asked me to write a proposal for their new social media strategy, I basically wrote my job description. Since then, it’s been a huge, huge part of my life. I can’t think of a single day in the past three years that I haven’t done some kind of work on it.
You have a huge fan base….any advice from one blogger to another on building readership?
Have good content. That’s really the biggest thing – write about things that people want to know about or that they’ll care about. When I started I Love Memphis, I wrote about the things that made me so happy to live in Memphis. That’s still what I do – I spend my time exploring and eating and doing research so that people can find new things that they’ll love. Also, have some personality – if you’re a real person and you care about things, others will identify with that.
Scouring the streets of Memphis sounds like so much fun… what is your daily routine?
Every day is a little bit different and I get to decide what I am going to do, which is pretty great. Most days, I get up early (around 6 a.m.) and head up to Otherlands to start my work day (and get coffee) around 7 a.m. I’ll hang out there until I get antsy, then head out to explore or go to meetings or eat lunch or take pictures. Then I head home to write more in the afternoons and usually, I go back out at night, either to cover a restaurant or bar or event or to go to roller derby practice.
What is the best part of your day?
What do you love most about Memphis?
It’s a city full of opportunity. If you want to do something or make something or try something here, you can do it without feeling like it’s been done a hundred times before. Also, the people are friendly and will usually support those crazy fun ideas.
Name a Memphis restaurant that you just cannot get enough of.
It changes quite a bit, but right now, it’s Shang Hai. I eat there at least once a week. The women that run it are super friendly and they make some of the best Thai and Vietnamese food in town.
Any favorite Memphis haunts?
The Cove (for trivia night and excellent cocktails), Alex’s Tavern (for the late night food) Otherlands (for coffee), Shang Hai (for the shakes and the Tom Yum Soup), the Hi-Tone (for live music) and the Pipkin Building at the fair grounds (it’s where I have roller derby practice and bouts.)
Any big news coming down the turnpike that you could break first on StyleBlueprint?!
Nothing set in stone yet. But I can tell you that there’s going to be some kind of big (hopefully) city-wide party at the beginning of the fall. Stay tuned.
Describe your personality in three words:
I couldn’t narrow it down, so I asked my best friend John to describe me. He say’s that I’m intense, curious and an unrelenting perfectionist (his words, not mine). I’ve also been described as “from concentrate,” which I think means that there’s a lot of girl packed into my rather tiny frame.
What would surprise people most about you?
In real life, I’m actually really shy. Also, I’m really good at baking.
What is the greatest piece of advice you have been given?
The whole time I was growing up, every time I would leave the house, my mom would come outside and tell me to “Remember who you are and from whence you came” in her thick Kentucky accent. It’s served me well so far.
The other piece of advice comes from my derby coach, Sgt. Red – “If it’s about to hit you, hit it back.” It means that if you see someone in derby that’s about to come hit you, you won’t go flying if you hit them back. Funny story – that advice actually saved my teammate’s life. She was walking and got hit by a car. The only thing that kept her from going under it was that she instinctively hit it back with her hips.
On the slight chance that you have time to read, what books can be found on your bedside table?
There’s a whole stack right now that I’ve been meaning to get to. I’m in the middle of Murakami’s Wind Up Bird Chronicle. Next up, it’s either going to be The Art of Fielding, Gay Talese’s Thy Neighbor’s Wife or a writing guide called Vernacular Eloquence.
Name three things you can’t live without:
My roller skates, Internet access and my big green headphones.
Thanks, Kerry! And thanks to Lauren Patterson, the writer responsible for this great interview! The lovely solo shots of Kerry in the polka dot shirt were done by the talented Christen (Jones) Morrison. Check out Christen’s website here: www.christenjones.com.